UN biodiversity talks heading to tense final day

By Ed King
RTCC in Hyderabad

Finance negotiations at the UN biodiversity summit in Hyderabad are in deadlock with under 24 hours till their scheduled end.

Delegates participating in discussions told RTCC that the level of funding to achieve the Aichi Biodiversity Targets had not been agreed.

Developed countries want to establish baselines and a funding framework before committing cash. This stance appears to be unacceptable to poorer nations who argue they urgently need help to increase their conservation efforts.

The IUCN’s Gerard Bos told RTCC talks over paragraph 7 of the resource mobilisation text, which refer to targets, had taken up a significant part of the afternoon with no sign of a resolution.

An assessment published at the start of the week calculated that saving endangered species and their habitats would cost $50 billion a year. Protecting the world’s forests alone could come to an annual bill of $30 billion, according to the Global Canopy Programme.

While those figures are unlikely to be met at COP11, smaller ‘fast track’ funds could be agreed as a compromise.

In a sign that discussions would take some time, EU Environment Commissioner Janez Potocnik tweeted: “Looks like being a long night here at #cop11 still negotiating on resource mobilisation”.

Speaking to RTCC, WWF Conservation Executive Director Lasse Gustavsson said the current Euro crisis would affect the size of pledges, but argued it could not be used as an excuse for avoiding the issue.

“We had serious commitments in Nagoya two years ago, and if we don’t find the money we won’t have the conservation. In order to set ambitions in motion, cash is key,” he said.

He added: “If we don’t put money on the table at this COP, at least what we need is a robust plan on the table for two years from now, and I would hope governments would find some way to fast track some funding to the poorest countries so they can get their systems right.”

Lasse Gustavsson from Responding to Climate Change on Vimeo.

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